Men’s Volleyball Drops Heartbreaker to Saint Francis, 3-2

White notched 13 kills against the Red Flash (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite a huge comeback in the decisive fifth set, the Harvard men's volleyball team fell to the Red Flash of Saint Francis (Pa.), 3-2 on Friday night at the Malkin Athletic Center.
Casey White paced the Crimson (9-11, 6-5 EIVA) offense with 13 kills and eight digs. Erik Johnsson notched 11 kills and two service aces, while Marko Kostich and Matthew Ctvrtlik earned 26 and 19 helpers, respectively. Ctvrtlik and Trevor Dow led Harvard's defensive effort with seven blocks apiece, including two solo blocks from Dow. Harvard earned 13.5 stoppers through the five sets.
Saint Francis took an early lead on the Crimson, holding the home team off 10-6. A block from Johnsson and Riley Moore kicked the Crimson on a 5-1 run to tie the set at 11 apiece.  The two teams traded points until a kill from Ctvrtlik pushed the Crimson ahead 23-18. A kill from White capped off the first set for Harvard, 25-20.
The Red Flash came back swinging in the second stanza, pulling ahead to an 8-5 lead. Back-to-back kills from White and Moore pushed the Crimson within one point, 9-8, but Saint Francis pulled away again 14-9. Two kills and a block from Ctvrtlik moved the Crimson tied the frame at 14 apiece, but the Red Flash pushed ahead in the last points, earning the set point 25-21.
Harvard jetted off to a 11-9 lead in the third set, pushing past the Red Flash with 12 kills in the set. Though Saint Francis pulled within four points, 16-20, Harvard was able to hold off the Red Flash through the set, limiting the visitors to a .139 hitting percentage. Johnsson tallied four kills in the frame, while Ctvrtlik paced the defense with three blocks.
The fourth stanza was challenging for the Crimson. The Red Flash jumped out to an early lead, 13-8, and was able to hold off Harvard through the set. Harvard was limited to five kills in the stanza.
The decisive fifth set began with a 4-0 run from the visitors, but the Crimson battled back to earn the next 10 of 12 points, gaining back the advantage, 10-6. The next six points were neck-and-neck between the teams, with a kill from Daniel Ford tying the match at 12 apiece. The Red Flash capitalized on successive attack errors from the Crimson to earn the set point, 15-13.
Harvard will return to action tomorrow night against No. 12 Penn State. Harvard will be celebrating the careers of seniors, Sam Murphy and Casey White prior to the match, which will be streamed on the Ivy League Digital Network.
For a full archive of tonight's game, please see the Ivy League Digital Network.